In this article, we will install and configure DFS (Distributed File System) Namespaces in Windows Server 2019.

What is DFS?

DFS Namespaces is a role service in Windows Server that allows you to group shared folders located on different servers into one or more logically structured namespaces.

DFS allows you to configure shared folders hosted on different servers in one or more logically structured namespaces.

Virtual Lab Setup:

  • WS2K19-DC01: Active Directory Domain Controller with DNS.
  • WS2K19-SRV02: Member Server for mylab.local domain.

Installing the DFS role:

Log in to your Windows Server 2019 and open the Server Manager console.

1 Server Manager Console

Click on Manage and select Add roles and features.

2 Click on Tools

Click on Next on Before you begin console.

3 Click on Next

Choose Role-based or Feature-based installation and click Next.

4 Choose Role-based or Feature-based Installation

Select your server on which you want to install the DFS server role. Click on Next.

5 Select Local Server

On select server role console, expand the File and Storage Services, expand File and iSCSI Services and select DFS Namespaces from the list.

6 Choose DFS Namespace Server Role

Click on Add Features when prompted to install the Management tools.

7 Click on Add Features

If you have not installed the File Server role, DFS will also install it as the File Server role is one of the prerequisites for DFS Namespace. Click on Next.

8 Make sure DFS Namespace and File Server are selected

On Select features console, click on Next to continue.

9 Click Next on Select Features console

Click Install and wait for the installation process to complete.

10 Click on Install to start the Installation

Click on Close to close the console.

11 Click on Close

Configure DFS Namespace:

After installing the DFS role, our next step is to configure DFS namespace.

From the Server Manager console, select DFS Management from the Tools menu.

12 Open DFS Management Console

Expand DFS Management, right-click on Namespaces and select New Namespace:

13 Add New Namespace

Type the name of the server that will host the namespace. In our case, WS2K19-SRV02 is going to host the DFS Namespace. Click on Next.

14 Select the server to host DFS Namespace

Type the name for the new DFS Namespace (Store) then click on Edit Settings.

15 Type DFS Namespace Name

You can change the path and shared folder permissions for the new namespace. By default, all users have “read-only” permission. Click on Next.

16 Edit DFS Namespace settings

Choose the Domain-based namespace and click on Next.

17 Choose Domain Based DFS Namespace

Review the settings and then click on Create.

18 Review the selection and click on create

Click on Close to close the namespace wizard.

19 Confirm DFS Namespace is created successfully

Create DFS folders with Folder Target:

For the testing purpose, I have created one shared folder with proper NTFS permission on the local server WS2K19-SRV02. We will add that folder to the DFS namespace.  

20 Shared Folders on local server

In DFS Management console, right-click on the namespace we just created, and choose New Folder.

21 Add new DFS folder

Type the name for the folder, and then click on Add to add folder targets.

22 Specify DFS folder target path

Click on Browse to browse for folder targets.

23 Browse the shared folder path

You can add an existing shared folder, or create a new one.

24 Select the existing shared folder

Click on OK. 

25 verify the shared folder path

Let’s go to the network path (\\mylab.local\store). You should see the folder we just added.

26 Access DFS Namespace

DFS Namespaces is a great feature to organize your network share folders. With DFS namespace, all shared folders are accessible from a single path. 

Hope this article will help you in setting up DFS namespace in Windows Server 2019. In the next post, we will configure DFS replication in Windows Server 2019.

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